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In this episode, Alex Lidow and Marti McCurdy discusses EPC’s test-to-failure method in improving gallium nitride (GaN) devices. According to Alex, testing to failure has allowed EPC to tease out the exact stressors that cause failure and improve EPC’s GaN devices 10-100 times the reliability of commercial devices, and even 100 times reliability in space applications.
Alex and Marti discuss:
(1:30) Why test to fail
(4:14) Learning from failure data and stressors
(11:38) Safe Operating Area
(14:30) Mechanical stressors
(17:45) EPC Space
Standard qualification testing for semiconductors typically involves stressing devices at-or-near the limits specified in their data sheets for a prolonged period of time, or for a certain number of cycles, with the goal of demonstrating zero failures. By testing parts to the point of failure, an understanding of the amount of margin beyond the data sheet limits can be developed, but more importantly, an understanding of the intrinsic failure mechanisms of the semiconductor can be found.
Bodo’s Power Systems
EPC’s Phase Eleven Reliability Report adds to the knowledge base published in the first ten reports. With this report, EPC demonstrates field experience of 123 billion device hours and a robustness capability unmatched by silicon power devices.
EL SEGUNDO, Calif.— April 2020 — EPC announces its Phase Eleven Reliability Report, documenting the strategy used to achieve a remarkable field reliability record. This strategy relied upon tests forcing devices to fail under a variety of conditions to create stronger products to serve demanding applications such as lidar for autonomous vehicles, LTE base stations, vehicle headlamps, and satellites to name just a few.
Gallium Nitride (GaN) power devices have been in volume production since March 2010 with remarkable field reliability. This article details how by testing parts to the point of failure an understanding of the amount of margin between the data sheet limits can be developed, but more importantly, an understanding of the intrinsic failure mechanisms can be found. By knowing the intrinsic failure mechanisms, the root cause of failure, and the device’s behavior over time, temperature, electrical or mechanical stress, the safe operating life of a product can be determined over a more general set of operating conditions.
Power Systems Design
March 3, 2020